Dramatic Effects of Powerful El Niño Expected Worldwide

Human Wrongs Watch

6 November 2015 – Deeply concerned about potential deaths, illness, malnutrition and psychosocial effects brought by the ongoing El Niño phenomenon, the strongest in nearly two decades, the World Health Organization (WHO) is ramping up its efforts with regional offices and partners to guide countries on El Niño preparedness and timely response to curb its health risks.

This lake in Ba, Fiji, completely evaporated during the 1997-98 drought, leaving nothing but mud behind. Farmers fear that the same may happen again as El Niño builds up. Photo: OCHA/Danielle Parry

“The El Niño phenomenon is a major concern to global public health as it has the potential to exacerbate health risks associated with extreme weather in different parts of the world,” stated a WHO status report issued recently on Health Preparedness for El Niño Event 2015-2016.

According to a map produced by Columbia University, and included in the update, the trend of unusual wet and dry condition for November 2015 to January 2016 will continue.

“WHO is acutely aware of the high risk conditions of 2015 and providing support to WHO Member States and partners to enhance preparedness measures for the current El Niño event,” said the report.

It also noted that those El Niño-related health impacts depend on local health vulnerabilities, preparedness and response capacities, in addition to the local climate situation.

El Niño, indicated the report, offers an opportunity to strengthen all-hazards preparedness of communities and countries, and the readiness of WHO, its regional and global offices and partners for health emergencies.

At international level, WHO is assisting countries to build health system resilience and improve emergency risk management as well as raising awareness on the issue.

As far as regional concerns, WHO field offices, which are also in charge of UN interagency coordination, are guiding Ministries of Health on risk management and contingency plans. Some WHO regional offices have also shared best practices by member States for better preparedness.

The report further provided guidance to the health sector on working with local partners to monitor and reduce health risks, developing strategies to prepare and response to emergency, planning strategic communications on the climate hazard, and evaluating the measures to tackle El Niño.

Extensive floods and droughts caused by El Niño have brought significant health impacts around the globe, the report details. For example, extreme rainfall has not only made Eastern Africa and Horn of Africa food insecure with huge economic reduction in agriculture, but it has also triggered water-borne and vector-borne diseases such as cholera and Rift Valley Fever.

In South America, the unusual intense rainfall has caused flooding and landslide, widely destroying homes and infrastructure.

Drought, the other impact of El Niño, has led to water shortages in the Pacific Islands, which worsened food harvests and economies and increased morbidity and mortality caused by malnutrition diseases.

Population displacement and psychosocial problems are among other common impacts attributed to El Niño. (Source: UN).

Read also:

Climate Change in the Eyes of El Niño?

El Niño Brings Drought, Hunger to Indonesia and South Pacific

Ethiopia Experiencing ‘Worst Drought in 30 Years Due to El Niño – UN Report

Major Crop Losses in Central America Due to El Niño

Now There Is a New Way to Force Action on Climate Change – the Courts

New Hope for Avoiding Catastrophic Climate Change

‘Inaction on Climate Change Now Will Cost Us All in the Future’

A Few Things You May Not Know about Small Island Developing States

Climate Change: Small Island States Face ‘Existential Threat’

Climate Change ‘Threatens Self-determination’ of Citizens in Island States

Tiny Though Some May Be, Islands Play a “Huge Role” in Sustaining Life on the Planet

‘2015 Pivotal for Finalizing Universal Climate Change Agreement’

Climate Change Advances Faster than Expected — Critical Role of Genetic Resources in Feeding the World

Cost of Climate Change Adaptation in Developing Countries Set to Be as High as $250-500 Billion Per Year By 2050

‘Never before have the risks of climate change been so obvious and the impacts so visible’

‘Climate Change Threatens Irreversible and Dangerous Impacts’

What Is Known and What Is Not Known about Impacts of Climate Change – Report

UN Summit: Tackling Climate Change Requires “All Hands on Deck”

Climate Summit: Extreme Weather Hits Asia, Europe… a Further Indication of the “New Normal”?

Beating Climate Change, Either Lead or Get Out of the Way

No ‘Plan B’ for Climate Action as There Is No ‘Planet B’

Economic Growth Possible Even While Tackling Climate Change — Report

‘We Are Running Out of Time’, Experts Warn as Climate Change Debate Heats Up

Climate Change Impacting Entire Planet, Raising Risk of Hunger, Floods, Conflict – UN Report

Impact of Climate Change Could Reverse Decades of Development in Africa ‘Majestic’

Greenland Provides First-hand Look at Impacts of Human-induced Climate Change

Bangladesh: the Crippling Cost of Climate Change Adaptation

Overall Energy Consumption for Lighting Will Have Grown by 60 to 70% by 2030 with dramatic consequences for climate change

Looming Problems: Not Enough Energy; Too Much of Climate Change

Clean Energy, Water Strategies to Halt ‘Runaway’ Climate Change – Experts 

The ‘Future We Want’, Nowhere to Be Found in Rio+20

Demand for Life’s Essentials: 50% More Food, 40% More Energy and… 35% More Water

Food Inequality Equation: 1.5 Billion Obese; 925 Million Hungry 

2015 Human Wrongs Watch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: